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Would you recommend daily stand ups for all teams regardless of size or experience?

Would you recommend stand-ups for all teams regardless of their size or experience level?

Let’s start with the intended purpose of a daily stand-up in the context of Scrum.

Purpose of a daily stand-up.

Its an opportunity to get the team together to think about what is important to achieve in the next 24 hours. So, a short sharp focus on what we, as a team, need to do to achieve our goals and to voice any concerns we may have around impediments that might prevent us from achieving that.

We are going to talk about:

  • What we are currently doing.
  • What we intend to do.
  • What is on track and progressing well.
  • What problems we are facing.
  • What problems we anticipate.
  • Anything that may prevent us from achieving our goal.

The goal is to help the team understand where we are, where we are going, and what help might be necessary to overcome impediments and still deliver against our goals and objectives.

The team may take that information and abandon the item, swarm to overcome the challenge, or decide to pivot to something more important. They information and feedback loop simply informs decision-making and ensures that we are always focused on the most valuable work or solution.

So, that is a good thing.

I don’t think it matters how big the team is or how experienced they are. Getting together, daily, for a short period of time, is always going to benefit the team, the customer, and the organization.

Why a daily stand-up matters.

We work in a complex environment. Our customers, the markets we serve, the organization itself is subject to an infinite amount of unknown variables. Things simply change and it is our job to respond to those changes as best we can.

Respond, not react.

The daily stand-up is the opportunity to surface those changing elements and make decisions around what we are going to do, why that matters, and potentially even how we will respond.

It may be to swarm over the problem, it may be to escalate that problem to a senior executive, or it may be to reprioritize that item in favour of something that we can get done within the time available to us.

If the goal of business agility is to respond and adapt quickly, effectively, and cost-effectively, the daily stand up plays a critical role in ensuring that we are able to do so every 24 hours, at minimum.

Would you recommend daily stand ups for all teams regardless of size or experience

Does it have to be a stand-up? Does it have to happen daily?

The answer is no.

A daily stand-up is designed to last a maximum of 15 minutes. So, do you need to do it every day? No, you don’t, but I also can’t see how dedicating 15 minutes at the start of every day will be a tough act to follow. It seems reasonable. It seems doable. And so, if you can, I recommend that you do.

The thinking behind the concept of a stand-up was to reduce comfort.

We didn’t want people lounging about in chairs and spending hours in a meeting that could be dealt with swiftly and effectively. That’s the reason people stand in a daily scrum rather than sit.

That said, you don’t need to stand.

You can sit around a table. You can appropriate a boardroom for 15 minutes and get it done. You can choose whatever option you like. Just get it done quickly and use your time wisely and effectively.

One of the issues with bigger teams is that there may simply be too much information to work through in 15 minutes. That information may not be relevant to everyone in the team and as such, you can choose to use multiple platforms, in addition to the daily stand-up, to make sure that work is transparent and informed.

At Agile Centre we use slack in addition to a daily scrum.

Just taking a little bit of time to write down what we are doing, why that matters, and what problems or impediments may stand in the way of progress.

It’s a quick and easy way to highlight any problems plus you can ping someone that can help you solve the problem or tackle the impediment. It also creates a paper trail that is easy to follow and action, appropriately.

So, is it worth evaluating what best works for the team and designing a system that ensures every person is up to speed on what is happening, why it matters, and how their contribution matters?

Yes, I think it is. Do that.

About John McFadyen

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